Statement by João Oliveira, Member of the Political Commission of the Central Committee

A global response to national problems and the State Budget proposal for 2022

A global response to national problems and the State Budget proposal for 2022

The situation and dimension of the national problems require solutions to face them.

Other options and an alternative path are needed that contemplate the issues that mark the lives of the workers, the people and the country.

The debate on the State Budget must be part of this global response, which is as necessary as it is pressing. The Budget has its own value, but it is – it must be – an expression and translation of these options.

The PCP was decisive in halting the course of national disaster imposed by the PSD, CDS and the troika. It was decisive in ensuring the defence, restoration and achievement of rights in a framework in which the correlation of forces and the weight of the PCP decisively counted for the solutions implemented.

Advances and achievements of undeniable value but which were not enough to overturn essential aspects of national policy and, due to the resistance of the PS, to tackle the set of structural problems of the country.

It is this path that needs to be followed and this is the response that must be taken.

In 2021, given the impacts of the epidemic, the PCP was decisive in ensuring a response that was aimed at protecting rights, ensuring the right to healthcare and guaranteeing social support to those who needed it, especially after the 2020 Supplementary Budget went in a different direction.

But the epidemic also laid bare and increased the country's old problems and weaknesses, the difficulties of life of millions of workers and pensioners, the problems of most families in accessing housing or raising their children, the weakening of public services, including the NHS due to the drain of resources and professionals to private groups, the precariousness and instability in which entire sectors, such as culture, live. Added to the consequences suffered by a country that is at the mercy of economic and multinational groups to whom it hands companies and strategic and essential sectors for production and national development.

The response that had to be found to face the consequences of the epidemic also made more obvious the need to face the problems clearly, going to their roots and attacking their causes and not just taking this or that positive measure here or there, without solving the underlying problems.

This path cannot be postponed any longer. After the epidemic, when large financial resources are announced, it is necessary to respond to the situation.

The State Budget for 2022 should be included in this general path of response to the problems. Not only does the Budget not include it, but the Government does not show signs of wanting to follow this path.

The State Budget proposal is far from being part, important but not the only one of this course that the country needs.

It is a Budget proposal that is based on a policy perspective that does not assume the increase in wages as a national emergency, which in terms of labour legislation and rights chooses not to face big capital and unprotects workers, which leaves hundreds of thousands of pensioners who paid more for Social Security without seeing their purchasing power restored or those who worked for more than 40 years with cuts in their pensions, which does not take sides for the stability of the right to housing, which leaves no signs of restoration or solid defence of sectors such as posts, energy, transport or telecommunications.

In the SB proposal we do not find the necessary and decisive response to strengthen public services, starting with the NHS, in particular the commitment to an expressive and urgent valorisation of its professionals' careers and salaries to guarantee their bond and encourage full dedication. Without this there will be no medical appointments, tests, update of surgeries or family doctors and nurses for everyone.

In tax matters, it does not meet the objectives of a progressive tax cut on lower and intermediate income from work and indirect taxes and does not seriously affront large profits and assets, delaying fiscal justice and depriving the State of billions of euros in revenue.

The answer to the problems of energy and its costs is absent from the Budget proposal, either through VAT or through price control and regulation.

The right to free nurseries for all children, including measures to create a public network for that purpose, is not assumed as an objective, not even due the importance of this sign as a security factor for those who decide to have children.

What can be seen in this Budget proposal in various areas are marginal responses, determined and conditioned by the deficit criteria that the Government maintains as a major constraint on the response that the country needs.

The people and the country call for a response to meet the problems and needs they face, mobilising all the possibilities that exist today. Indicators of economic growth and the announced billions of available funds must be put at the service of these solutions for the lives of the workers and people.

In the current situation, considering the government's resistance so far in assuming commitments on important matters beyond the Budget and also in the content of the Budget proposal that is being tabled, it has our opposition now, with the PCP voting against it.

Until its overall vote, there is still time to find solutions. There is still time to find out if the PS and the government definitively refuse the commitments that allow signalling the path of response that the country and the lives of the workers and people demand and the solutions that in the Budget and beyond it must be implemented.

The PCP will not fail to intervene to guarantee solutions that incorporate this different path of consideration and response to national problems, an indispensable path for the life of the country.

It will do so with its usual independence, refusing all pressures, not feeding or conditioning itself by false dramatizations, rejecting readings beyond those that are the answers it deems necessary for the country and determined by its commitment to the workers and the people.

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